One year since Asheville’s restaurants and bars were ordered closed on March 17, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, winter is going, and restaurateurs, makers and bakers are seeing light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. Hope springs eternal.
Lots of places advertise farm-fresh breakfast, but there’s nothing much fresher than what chefs Eric Morris (Nightbell and Cultura) and Daniel Rider are cooking up Saturday mornings at the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Farmers Market at A-B Tech. Morris says Little Red Fox started a couple of months ago with a random conversation between him and Rider — who worked for him at both Nightbell and Cultura — shortly after Rider had lost all his possessions in a house fire and was temporarily staying with him.
“We started talking about what we wanted to do and how — mainly as a way to take our minds off things and focus on what we love to do — and he said, ‘Do you want to make some breakfast sandwiches and sell them?’” Morris recalls.
Morris’ wife, Sarah Hart, ASAP’s communications coordinator, helped them navigate the process of applying to be a vendor at the market, and on Feb. 6, Little Red Fox launched with a tent, table and outdoor cooking space. “It was really cold the first two weeks and rained the third week, but we sold out for the first time, so it was working,” Morris says.
What works particularly well, he points out, in building the four breakfast sandwiches they offer is the immediate access to products from other market vendors. “We get greens from Olivette Farm, pork from Dry Ridge Farm, apples from Creasman Farms and beets from Ten Mile Farm,” Morris says. Additionally, he turns the oyster mushrooms he gets from Black Trumpet Farm into mushroom “bacon,” a multistep process that eventually ends up on sourdough bread with greens and tomato jam.
Rider makes all the breads, including a rye croissant for the lox, dill, thinly sliced caperberry and crème fraiche sandwich and fat biscuits that are loaded up with pork belly and cheesy egg.
Morris, who also cooks twice weekly for the Church of the Advocate feeding program and is in the business-planning stage for his own future brick-and-mortar restaurant, hopes to bring the Fox to other markets as they open. For now, find it Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at 340 Victoria Road on the A-B Tech campus. Follow on Instagram @littleredfoxavl.
Mum’s the word
Tiaras are optional, but a taste for tea and scones will be well served at the first Queen Mum High Tea presented by chef Terri Terrell and baker/food stylist Michele Gentille on Saturday, March 20, in The Parlour. The spacious room with fireplace and a large window overlooking Broadway is on the second floor of Charlie Hodge’s Asheville Beauty Academy; the space will be staged for royalty with linens, china, crystal, silver and an ambient soundtrack. “We’re all about the atmo,” says Terrell with a laugh.
Gentille is pulling out props and photo shoot accouterments that have been stored in boxes since the pair closed Queen Mum Studios last year. They’ll make three-tiered service pieces for the baked sweets and dainty sandwiches on the menu, which also includes a pot of tea, soup and a creamy dessert. Queen Tea with a Nip adds a glass of sherry, port, wine or bubbles. The two distanced seatings are at 1 and 2:30 pm. For reservations and tickets, visit avl.mx/943.
Planting the seed
Eva and Reza Setayesh, owners of BimBeriBon restaurant in West Asheville, have added another option to their expanding repertoire of takeaways. In addition to Big Bountiful Bags — weekly globally inspired meals for two or four ordered online from the restaurant’s website — they now offer heat-and-eat meals for two from plantlovinghumans.com. The couple launched the website last May to provide recipes and advice for people seeking to add more plant-based foods to their diets. Orders from the two weekly choices must be placed by Wednesday, with pickup on Saturdays. Entree options have included roasted vegetable and tofu curry and oat and chickpea gnocchi; sides like sesame noodle salad and sweets also available to add on. Visit avl.mx/945 for details.
It is Christian Watts’ nature to go big, so when he reached out to Elizabeth Rideout of Sea of Sweets in Weaverville to add her macarons to what he calls his “wonderland of tasty treats” at 10th Muse Comfort Food on Patton Avenue in West Asheville, he naturally asked her to supersize them. “He wanted me to base the flavors for him with the shakes and lattes he already has on his menu and make them really big,” she says with a laugh. Expect to find jumbo Love Potion No. 9 (white chocolate and raspberry) macarons at 10th Muse on weekends.
Rideout, who has a degree in marine science from the University of South Carolina-Columbia, started baking cakes and cupcakes for friends and family as a hobby a couple of years ago. As demand for her products grew, she found a commercial kitchen, designed a logo, created a website and recently added macarons. She plans to sell standard-sized macarons at the Hendersonville Farmers Market when it starts in April and is now testing couriers and packing methods to begin shipping in May. For now, orders can be made at avl.mx/prvp.
10th Muse Comfort Food, 1475 Patton Ave.
On the waterfront
Smoky Park Supper Club — which had offered outdoor dining and to-go service only since reopening in August — was among the Asheville restaurants that opted to take a long winter’s nap during January and February. On March 11, with daffodils abloom, temperatures warming and daylight saving time sunlight kicking in, chef and owner Michelle Bailey and staff welcomed diners back to tables on the riverside restaurant’s lawn and patio and in its boathouse, resuming the service model of ordering from the bar’s outdoor window.
Optimism, she says, is running high for the first time since March 2020. “We are planning to get our dining room reopened as soon as we can open up all those windows on the one side of the building — hopefully sometime in April — and bringing live music back to the patio. We feel that spring and summer are going to be really busy, and we are so ready.” To start, Smoky Park will be open Thursday and Friday 4-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Smoky Park Supper Club 350 Riverside Drive. avl.mx/94a
Downtown workers and day-trippers have a new spot to fuel up with the opening of Summit Coffee in the Grove Arcade. The Davidson company’s second Asheville location (the first is in the River Arts District) offers coffee drinks — including a spring special juniper orange-vanilla latte — tea, chai, hot chocolate, mocha and berry-lemonade slushies. Food options include pastries, granola, bagels and toast. The space offers limited-capacity indoor seating with more outside; open seven days a week, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summit Coffee, 1 Page Ave., No. 148 in the Grove Arcade